DVD Review: Bayonetta – Bloody Fate
24/11/2014 Leave a comment
We take a look at Manga Entertainment’s DVD Release of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate but is it as stylish as the game it’s based upon? Find out in our Review.
From the director of AFRO SAMURAI! Based on the smash-hit videogame, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate follows the story of the witch Bayonetta, as she defeats the blood-thirsty Angels and tries to remember her past from before the time she awoke, 20 years ago.
Alongside her is a mysterious little girl who keeps calling her “Mummy”, a journalist that holds a personal grudge against Bayonetta and a unknown white-haired woman who seems to know more than she is willing to reveal about Bayonetta’s time before her sleep.
Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is the anime adaptation that Devil May Cry should have been; stylish, sexy, progressive and entertaining but even with all of this I found it difficult to immerse myself within the film and it’s strange, but familiar, environment – and it’s not like I haven’t played the game either.
Let’s start at the beginning; Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an anime adaptation of Platinum Games 2010 multi-platform videogame Bayonetta, whereby the main character, or protagonist if you prefer, finds herself with no memory of her past and in the middle of a constant battle between Angels and Witches. In an attempt to recover her lost memories Bayonetta interrogates any angels, and other enemies, that mindlessly attack her; however in doing so she discover that elsewhere a sinister character known as Father Balder is attempting to revive a destructive force in order to create a new world and that he may have ties to her past. As a result of this new found information Bayonetta tracks him down; while in the process destorying anything that gets in her way.
If you’ve played the original Bayonetta game then you’ll be pretty familiar with what to expect from the films story and its progression – as it’s pretty much the same – Although while these can be considered the element of uncovering lost memories and stopping a mad-man are considered the main storyline, both of which don’t exactly go anywhere that fast, there are some other factors taking place. For instance there is Luka, an investigative journalist, who keeps tracking down Bayonetta in order to find out why she killed his farther over 2 decades ago and then there is Cereza, a young girl who resembles Bayonetta and keeps calling her mummy. Both of these elements pop-up frequently within the film and provide some comical witty-banter between characters, especially when Luka ends up dumped with Cereza; but in reality it’s a way for the film to be slowed-down so that a story can be told in words rather than action.
In retrospect Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is pretty much as ‘fast-paced’ as the game its based upon, with the location changing quite often – I guess this is in homage to the variety of levels seen with the game. This being said when it needs to be Bayonetta will move at a snails-pace, such as the overall story progression which seems to not go anywhere until towards the end; but then this is probably due to the relatively confusing character names and lack of progressive dialogue rather than the story itself.
Of course the real reason that makes Bayonetta: Bloody Fate special compared to other adaptations of games, both live-action and animated, is that this film not only uses the exact same voice cast, albeit with the exception for one or two minor characters, as that of the games but because it looks and feels like part of the game. In retrospect Bayonetta: Bloody Fate feels like a true continuation of the franchise; although in reality this ‘continuation’ is actually a re-telling a story once told in videogame format.
Interestingly while the film offered a much more ‘authentic’ experience than that of the Devil May Cry anime series the variety of bonus materials on offer left much to be desired; as the only bonus content is the inclusion of a Directors Commentary, an original Japanese storyboards and the english trailer.
Personally I was expecting trailers from the Bayonetta videogame franchise, like how Devil May Cry featured trailers from the Devil May Cr 4 videogame, as well as a selection of Japanese themed promotional material; but instead all we receive is a limited selection of content – and even these are hard to see due to the menu being of the same colour as the text.
While there isn’t much bonus materials on offer the highlight of the extra features, for me, was the Directors Commentary; a commentary which sees Hellena Taylor (voice of Bayonetta) and the English ADR Director explaining how the videogame and films were dubbed into English and the lengths that were taken to secure all of the voice actors needed.
For instance Hellena Taylor had to record her lines within a UK recording studio as opposed to recording it with everyone else in the states; additionally in the original game voice actors were left uncredited.There is a wealth of ‘surprises’ and ‘easter eggs’ that would please, if not tease, the most loyal Bayonetta fan; amusingly I had more fun watching (or listening) to the directors commentary than I did watching the main film itself – which is quite strange.
The remaining extra features on the otherhand are nothing to brag about; the inclusion of original Japanese storyboards is nice but since they are relatively small, and move along at a fast pace, you don’t get the see much unless you constantly press pause. The low-resolution quality of the DVD doesn’t help much either. The final piece of bonus material is the standard US version trailer, which is pretty much the same as that on Manga UK’s youtube channel.
Media: DVD 9
Running Time: 1:26:28
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an anime adaptation of the original game and as result everyone’s cast of favourite characters return to take part in a relatively familiar story. All the characters are the same as you remember them, just in 2D artistic form as opposed to 3D polygons, and despite the difference they have never looked any better. In a nutshell the film sees Bayonetta slaughter angels, which look more like demons, in order to uncover her lost memory while the in meantime a servant of god has too much selfpower and attempts to revive a powerful god for a new world order. As you’d expect it’s up to Bayonetta, and her new found companions, to put a stop to it – it’s sexy, it’s beautiful, and it has plenty of over-the-top action but I couldn’t help find myself being a bit bored.
Boredom probably set-in due to the relatively unknown destination and pacing of the film; everything is ‘dumped’ onto your lap at the very start of the film with a dreary narrative at which point Bayonetta kills angels in kick-ass fashion. I should have liked this film, but instead I found myself growing less interested in it the further I moved through it. Amusingly I had a similar experience with the game itself; enjoyed the start but was bored by the mid-point; so the story here is – if you didn’t like the game you probably won’t like the film – although it’s worth giving it a shot as it looks fanastic (especially in HD).
Mind you it wasn’t just the films pacing and lack of informative narrative I found disappointing as this DVD Release by Manga Entertainment UK isn’t anything to shout home about either. The overall picture quality I found to be quite disappointing as at times it felt like i was streaming the film through the internet on low quality as opposed to watching the DVD. The picture didn’t seem as sharp as it should be, even for a DVD, and at times pixelation occurs momentarily across the screen. The DVD menu isn’t any better either as that itself seems like a small picture zoomed in so pixelation can be seen; although this was being watched on a large screen, so on smaller screens you won’t see this issue. In regards to audio and subtitles then these remain consistent with no real issues, and since this is a film the chapter points – which are around every 10 minutes – are not an issue either.
Bayonetta: Bloody Fate hits all the right marks, albeit with a few video quality concerns, and fans of the franchise are sure to love it; however if you weren’t too keen on the game then you may want to stay away from this is as well – as it’s pretty much the same just in anime form.
Dayonetta: Bloody Fate is now available on DVD and Steelbook Blu-ray within the UK.